So, as I’m not really a cake person (apart from tiny cupcakes, which are a whole different kettle of…tea), and also as someone who likes a challenge, I thought I’d have a crack at a Boston cream pie. For those in the know, it’s not a pie at all – it’s actually a layer cake with creme patissiere in the middle, and a bitter chocolate ganache on top. I’m breaking my blog down into two posts, one for the cakey part, and one for the topping and filling.
225g unsalted butter
225g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs
200g self-raising flour
3-4 tablespoons milk
2 x 21cm sandwich tins (about 5cm deep), buttered
The cake is a simple Victoria sponge recipe. Nigella (the charlatan) advocates just shoving everything in a food processor and mixing. Calls herself a domestic goddess…If you have a glorious Kitchenaid mixer, then go for it. If not, use the following method:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C/gas mark 4. I used loose-bottomed tins (laugh it up…baking is joyful). I also lined the bottoms with parchment paper, but you can butter them up to your heart’s content if you so wish.
2. This is where dearest Nige shoves it all in a processor, so if you’re feeling suitably lazy, do that right now. ALTERNATIVELY, cream the butter and sugar together until very smooth. It MUST be super smooth, a baby-bottomy consistency. Any roughness at this stage will impede the eventual lightness and fluffiness of your sponge, and that simply wouldn’t do at all.
3. Now. This is the crucial stage. Add your vanilla, and then one egg. Beat for between 1 and 2 minutes. Add a tablespoon of flour and beat again. Add egg number two and repeat. Same with eggs number three and four. You MUST beat for a considerable amount of time after each egg. This is what will add air to the cake and eliminate any heavy, dry, styrofoam texture that puts you in mind of your lovely but inept grandmother’s teatime efforts.
4. You should now have a pale cream mixture that feels slightly stiff. Add as much milk as you think you need. (It shouldn’t be a huge amount)
5. Divide your mixture in two and pour into the two tins. Pop in the oven for around 25 minutes. Do keep vigilant. It would be simply criminal for anything to go wrong after all your hard work. Your masterpiece should turn golden brown and start to come very slightly away from the sides of the tin. Other signs of readiness should be a ‘springy’ texture when you lightly press a finger down on top of the cake. Slip a cake tester in and if it comes out clean, you’re in business.
6. Take them out of the oven and leave for 10 minutes. Then turn them out of their tins and leave to cool.
7. Now onto the fun bit. See the next post!